It shows the incompetence and corruption involved in the building of a huge block of apartments, and the inability of the residents to do anything but accept the shoddy workmanship for fear they might lose their chance at one of the half-completed, never-to-be-finished apartments. ‘Despite the seriousness of the theme,’ writes the Festival of Festivals’ Kay Armatage, ‘Prefab Story is wonderfully enjoyable, hilarious and touching all at once, for in this film we find Chytilova at the height of her powers as a filmmaker, combining her characteristically wild shooting style, farcical elements, wonderful use of music and intricate storytelling abilities.’ In focusing on the lives of a varied group of Czechs who hope to obtain one of the flats, the film also shows that Czech society at large is anything but immune to the troubles that affect the workplace. Yet, as one might expect from the director of The Apple Game, the film is far from gloomy."(aka title: Panelstory or Story from a Housing Estate). —Walter V. Addiego
Vera Chytilová was born on February 2, 1929, in Ostrava, Czechoslovakia (now Czech Republic). She studied philosophy and architecture in Brno for two years, then worked as a technical draftsman, a designer, a fashion model, a photo re-toucher, then worked as a clapper girl for Barrandov Film Studios in Prague. There she continued as a writer, actress, and assistant director.
She was denied a scholarship, or even a recommendation from Barrandov, but she took the admissions tests at FAMU and was accepted. From 1957-1962 she studied film directing under Otakar Vávra, who also taught Jirí Menzel, Milos Forman, Jan Nemec, and Ivan Passer. In 1962 she graduated as director from Film Academy (FAMU) in Prague. Her graduation film Strop (Ceiling 1962) and the following film Pytel blech (A Bagful of Fleas 1963) were “staged” improvisations with non-actors. In 1966 Chytilova and her husband, Jaroslav Kucera, made a witty surrealist comedy Sedmikrásky… read more